At least twice a week, you’ll find Quad City ORA Physical Therapist Nicole Steffes, PT, MPT, training for a triathlon in the pool. She says it’s the hardest leg of the demanding three-leg contest for most people. But for her – a self-described “waterbug” since childhood – swimming is pure pleasure.
Nicole, a physical therapist with ORA Physical Therapy, says it’s also one of the best workouts you can do.
“Swimming has many benefits over impact sports, especially in the winter when you can’t easily exercise outdoors,” she says. “It’s easy on your joints, too.”
Nicole recommends swimming for many of her own patients.
“Aquatic therapy is a great option for post-surgery for joint replacements, or for those who have arthritis or low-back pain. Aquatic therapy is also good for fibromyalgia, or other chronic pain syndromes.”
Nicole recommends that new swimmers start small and build up gradually, and rest a day or two in between swimming.
“Try swimming 2 or 3 times a week for about 15 minutes,” she suggests. “You’d be surprised what you get out of 15 minutes!”
Nicole’s top 6 reasons to swim:
1. It’s a great indoor alternative when there’s snow or bad weather.
2. It works your entire body. You use arms, legs and core muscles and burn the calories.
3. It’s a great aerobic workout for promoting heart health.
4. It’s low-impact, great for joint pain, arthritis, post-surgical rehab.
5. For those who have trouble with weight-bearing exercise, swimming is not stressful or painful for joints.
6. There are so many strokes you can do! If your shoulder hurts, you can try the sidestroke and breaststroke.